The Bucks climb past the Lakers to lay claim to the top spot, while the rampaging Raptors jump all the way up to No. 6 in this week's updated NBA Power Rankings.
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1. Milwaukee Bucks
In 2018-19, Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged career-highs in points (27.7), rebounds (12.5), assists (5.9) and triples (0.7) while shooting a career-best, and franchise record, 57.8% from the field (11th in NBA). He became the first player ever to average 25/10/5 while shooting over 55 percent from the floor. Welp, this season, he's averaging more points, more boards, more steals and twice as many 3-pointers for the Bucks, who have won 11 straight games.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers entered Sunday winners of 17 of their previous 18 contests and riding a 10-game winning streak, which was LA's longest such streak in a decade. However, they could not contain Dallas' Luka Doncic and lost to the Mavs, 114-100, on Sunday afternoon. They'll look to get back on track at Denver on Tuesday night.
3. Los Angeles Clippers
You'd think that if you survived the onslaught from Kawhi Leonard and Paul George early on, you'd be able to stay in the game. Well, with this Clipper squad, you'd be wrong. Sunday vs. the Wizards, Kawhi poured in 34 points and George tallied in 31, but then the bench players did damage as well. Montrezl Harrell scored 23 points and ripped down a career-high 15 rebounds, while Lou Williams chipped in 22 points. The Clips are now 12-1 at home this season.
4. Denver Nuggets
Including the playoffs, Nikola Jokic played 94 games in 2018-19. Only three times in those 94 contests did he score fewer than ten points and also dish out fewer than seven assists. Well, he's only appeared in 17 games thus far this season and has already had five games in which he's tallied fewer than ten points and fewer than seven dimes.
5. Boston Celtics
The Celtics went 3-1 in the four games they played last week. Of the five total games they've lost this season, four of them have been by five points or less. Marcus Smart suffering an oblique injury on Sunday and is considered day-to-day.
6. Toronto Raptors
The Raps lost Kawhi Leonard in the offseason, and have played ten games without Serge Ibaka (ankle) and 11 without Kyle Lowry (thumb). Yet, somehow, they've won 15 of their first 19. Which means Nick Nurse is an early favorite for Coach of the Year honors. On Sunday, they welcomed back Ibaka, who tallied 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal in 21 minutes in a victory over the Jazz.
7. Dallas Mavericks
Per NBA.com, "The Mavs' No. 1 offense will play seven December games against teams that enter the month in the top 10 in defensive efficiency. That's two Sunday road games (Dec. 1 and 29) against the Lakers as well as five straight games (Dec. 14-22) against the top five teams in the Eastern Conference." Dallas was up to the task on Sunday, when they whooped the Lakers.
8. Houston Rockets
In case you might have missed, James Harden scored a season-high 60 points in a blowout victory over the Hawks on Saturday and somehow needed only 31 minutes and 24 FG attempts to get the job done. Over Houston's last 17 games, Harden is averaging 40.6 points, 7.6 assists and 6.0 rebounds in 36.9 minutes. Seriously.
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9. Miami Heat
The Heat have won eight of their last ten contests but will face a stiff test early this week. They play the Raptors in Toronto on Tuesday and then travel to Boston to take on the Celtics on the second night of a back-to-back.
10. Philadelphia 76ers
Joel Embiid caught plenty of slack when he was somehow held scoreless on 0-for-11 shooting vs. the Raptors last Monday. In the three games Philly has played since then, Embiid is averaging 30.7 points, 14.7 boards, 2.3 dimes and 2.0 blocks.
11. Indiana Pacers
Malcolm Brogdon missed three consecutive games in mid-November due to back soreness, but returned to action last Monday and has looked great. In the four games the Pacers played last week, Brogdon averaged 20.0 points, 7.3 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 triples, while shooting 51.7% from the floor and 92.3% from the FT stripe.
12. Utah Jazz
The Jazz had been struggling prior to Sunday's trip to Toronto, but no one could have predicted they would have been down 77-37 at halftime. It was the largest halftime deficit in the NBA this season and tied for the eighth largest in league history. Utah ended up losing by "only" 20 points. Things don't get any easier for the Jazz, who travel to Philadelphia on Monday night.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves
The Wolves racked up consecutive home wins to begin last week, but ended the week in disappointing fashion. Minnesota played a shorthanded Memphis squad on Sunday, that was missing both Ja Morant (back) and Jonas Valanciunas (illness). However, the Grizz walked away with a 115-107 win.
14. Brooklyn Nets
It appeared Brooklyn was going to notch yet another impressive victory on Sunday, as they led Miami by seven points with 1:45 to play in the fourth quarter. However, the Heat took control down the stretch and dealt Brooklyn a nasty defeat. Yet, despite that loss, and the loss of Kyrie Irving (shoulder), the Nets went 9-6 in November, which their first winning record in November since 2012.
15. Portland Trail Blazers
A few weeks ago, there was plenty of doubt as to whether Carmelo Anthony would ever set foot on an NBA court again. Today, he's a part of a Portland team that has won three straight. And, during this current winning streak, Melo is averaging 22.3 points and 7.7 rebounds with a True Shooting percentage of 65.7%. During these past three contests, Portland has outscored their opponents by 56 points in the 96 minutes he's been on the floor. In the 48 minutes Anthony hasn't played, the Blazers have been outscored by 12 points.